BU News Service
On any given night there are hundreds of homeless veterans staying at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, according to neighborhood development officials. More than 700 veterans are on the waiting list for public housing in Boston. Donna Brown, of the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Mark Winkeller, of Caritas Communities, intend to change this with their development of Patriot Homes in South Boston.
Currently 25 percent complete, the Patriot Homes project will refurbish an old police station on the corner of Athens and D street in South Boston and add a new structure to create 24 new affordable housing units specifically for veterans.
“There’s a huge need for it,” Brown said. “We’re the first of its kind in the sense that we have an option for veterans to live with their families; this doesn’t currently exist.”
Initially the project faced opposition from some in the community who favored an art space in the lot, but residents are now looking forward to having veterans in their neighborhood come Fall 2016.
“There are a lot of veterans in neighborhood and a long history of service in the community, ” Brown said. “The site is also accessible to services and jobs they might need, so we’re excited to have them here.”
Rents will range per unit based on the occupants’ income. They will pay 30 percent of what they bring home each month. The city and state require affordable housing corporations to provide 10 percent of the units specifically for those who are homeless. Patriot Homes will do more than that, 25 percent of the units are reserved for homeless veterans.